I know we have a lot of interest in our schedule for this coming year as teachers are home for the summer and students are anxious to receive their class schedules. I can still remember driving by my elementary school as a child with my mom, watching for the class lists that were posted on one of the doors every August. I couldn’t wait to see which teacher I would have and who was in my class.
In an effort to continually look for our opportunities for improvement, we have some significant changes to our schedule and staffing. Because we’ve now linked our Science classes with the labs in a two period block, we are actually able to optimize Science class sizes at 14-18 students and eliminate one staff member. Our students get better quality instruction, with the same lab and classroom teacher AND I’m able to shift that position to areas where we have a greater need.
In this case, that means we’re looking to hire a dually certified ELA and Social Studies teacher. Hiring a dually certified teacher allows us to make gains in both subject areas. Our average Global Studies class size goes down from 28 to 22 and average ELA class size goes down from 24 to 18. There are many factors that indicate student success, but it’s been my experience that the student to teacher ratio can make a significant difference. Adding the dually certified teacher also allows us the flexibility to add electives in creative writing, journalism, an additional section of speech/public speaking. These were electives we could not have offered without the additional teacher.
We also have such a stellar incoming freshmen class with 29 students taking Honors English 9. This addition of staff allows us to teach two sections of Honors English 9, providing more opportunity for meaningful class discussion. And remember we added the dually certified person without an overall addition to staff because of our more efficient scheduling in the Sciences.
We do have some classes that just fill up every year, like Foods & Nutrition, Keyboarding, and Health. Those are all courses that every student is able to fit into his or her schedule at some point before graduation. We’re also unable to offer Spanish 5. With our current staff, providing Spanish 5 means that our Spanish 2 sections would contain 30-36 students. That’s much too high and so class size considerations for required courses must trump elective offerings. I regret that we cannot offer this course.
Chemistry II and an Ecology elective will be new. And the popular Forensic science class returns. Our business classes are fully enrolled and we look to expansion in this department should the trend continue in the future.
We welcome new mathematics teachers, Richard Weber and Jim Reeves. We also welcome Bill Schindler back to the high school full time in the area of special education and we wish Jonathan Spiegel much success in his new position of special education teacher in the high school and middle school. Special education teacher Chris Stack moves to his home district of Frontier, where he will work as a consultant teacher in the high school. Crystal Furman has moved to Georgia with her family and will be teaching in one of their premier high schools. We wish Mrs. Furman and Mr. Stack much luck. We know with certainty that our loss is someone else’s gain as they were terrific contributors to our faculty and school. And then our wonderful retirees, Sharon Hartlieb and Derrik Decker, I hope they enjoy a big cup of coffee in their pajamas on September 6!